Times of India
12 March 2011
Sowmya (name changed), an eight standard student, fears going to school. Not because she’s scared of studies. What dithers her is this constant fear of her friends getting to know of her HIV–affected status.
"We cannot play, eat, or sit with other students. Even if we are studying in the same class, we are treated differently all the time. None of the kids in my neighbourhood talks to me because my parents are HIV positive," she says.
In an interactive session with the HIV–positive community organized by World Vision India on Friday, affected patients shared their side of the story, of how they fight discrimination on a day–to–day basis.
Violation of child rights topped their complaints. According to Gayatri (name changed), an HIV–positive member of the Karnataka AIDS patients network, child counsellors and paediatric doctors were missing in almost all antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres. "The HIV epidemic has been around for three decades now and children from the first group of patients have reached the age group of 18 and 19 years. They need support and understanding of how they can move ahead."
The aggrieved lot urged the government to pass the HIV Bill. The bill aims at ensuring equal rights for people living with HIV (PLHIV) at work, healthcare centres or in education. The bill also has provisions for a safe working environment for health workers and recognizes rights of kids to healthcare and information.The members insisted on better diagnostic facilities for kids.
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